The first game in December for either team led to a high stakes shootout performance. Led by Devin Booker, a notorious shooter against Boston (last year’s 70 point barrage), the young star scored 38 in Saturday’s early time slot as Phoenix fell short to Boston 116-111.
With the Suns (8-16) dropping two straight, the away tour continues with the next two games in Philadelphia and Toronto, both within the Atlantic division of the Eastern Conference. The big highlight was the second opportunity of Devin Booker looking to give the C’s more of a headache from an individual standpoint. Both games, Booker’s squad has fallen short, but the confidence given to him and the team has been enormous. Scoring 38 points in 39 minutes, he was the glue of the team today. Twenty nine field goal attempts came from Booker, making 16 of them to help put up 111 points on the best rated defense in the NBA. A more quiet name around the league, the offensive firepower former NC State stud TJ Warren brings is critical for this under performing Suns team. Injuries have derailed Warren from consistent production in his 4 years in the league but dropping 19 points Saturday against the top NBA team by many can’t hurt. Veteran center Tyson Chandler racked up the rebounds for Phoenix, swiping 18 of them for the Suns.
Twenty victories for the Boston Celtics, the NBA’s fastest this year while carrying only four defeats. Putting up 166 points, an unusual offensive number, the C’s balanced the ball with different guys acting in different roles to win. Center Al Horford scored 14 points with dishing out 11 assists. As a team, Boston dished out 32 dimes compared to the Suns, who had 24. The game leader in passing, Horford set up plays and let the guys around him finish strong. Guard Kyrie Irving led the team in scoring in 19 points with 5 assists and 2 steals recorded. Hybrid player Jaylen Brown was the team leader in points for a short while through the game as he finished out with 17 of his own and shot 3-5 behind the arc. The progression of the three pointer from Brown gives teams another asset of Boston’s to worry about and is filling the ceiling of the potential Jaylen Brown can be for the future. Rookie sensation Jayson Tatum finished with 15 points, out dueling the 2017 #4 pick Josh Jackson who recorded 7 points off the bench in 15 minutes. Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart combined for 30 points off the bench, giving the C’s a must needed push towards victory.
With the Celtics home schedule in effect till next Wednesday against Dallas, Boston has only lost once so far through the home game stretch dating back to November 27th against Detroit. Next will be at home against the Milwaukee Bucks, a new revamped team with newly acquired guard Eric Bledsoe running the tables against Kyrie Irving and company.